A standout even among the region’s Great Camps, the secluded Camp Uncas was built in 1895 by Brooklynite William West Durant, who is credited with perfecting the iconic Adirondack Great Camp style. The compound’s biggest claim to fame, however, is that it once belonged to financier J.P. Morgan, who purchased the 1,500 acre property from Durant in 1897; for the fifty years that followed, it served as a vacation home for Morgan and his family. Though the property has traded hands several times since, the appeal of its iconic architecture remains as compelling as its history. Designated as a national landmark by the U.S. Department of the Interior in 2010, this historically significant piece of the Adirondacks is for sale for $2.7 million, reduced from its original 2015 ask of $3.25M.
After the death of J.P. Morgan, Jr. in 1943, the family sold the lodge to Mrs. Margaret Emerson who used it to entertain distinguished guests from around the globe, including Secretary of State George Marshall, Madame Chiang Kai-shek and Bernard Baruch. After 1965 the property was sold to the Boy Scouts of Rockland County, New York. Years of hard use and little upkeep left Camp Uncas in desperate need of maintenance.
Fortunately for the storied property, Howard Kirschenbaum and Barbara Glaser restored to its former glory when they bought it in 1975. Following their divorce sometime in the 1980s the property was split, and Kirschenbaum’s share of Camp Uncas seeks a new owner.
Considering the offer, the price, though in the millions, almost seems to good to be true. Besides being steeped in luxury and history, the rambling lodge contains five bedrooms, 3.5 bathrooms and an intimate great room on the first floor—the perfect space for entertaining family and friends. A fieldstone fireplace serves as the focal point of the room, while exquisite built-in furniture throughout the lodge combine design and functionality. These original rustic furnishings are also included with the purchase, which should make it easy for the next owners to settle in.
Though new owners will want to make updates to meet modern needs, the home’s historic decor and finishes seem almost untouched by time. Remnants of the camp’s past, which date all the way back to when Durant was a resident, are evident throughout. The queen-sized bed in the master bedroom, for example, is dressed in an original Uncas blanket; in the same room you’ll find rare arts-and-crafts furniture including a Gustav Stickley night stand.
Steps from the kitchen is a covered screened porch that serves as an important part of Adirondack living for three seasons of the year. One area seats 12 people for outdoor dining while another provides a sitting space filled with the original couch and porch rockers.
In addition to the main lodge there are two cabins on-site, the Hawkeye and the Chingachgook (kitchen, pictured above), as well as a boathouse. The two cabins carry the same unique regional charm found in the main building and provide excellent private quarters for visiting guests.
Camp Uncas is sited within the Great Camps Historic Recreational Area, a reserve designated by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation as part of the Moose River Plains Wild Forest and Blue Ridge Wilderness Areas. Although there is plenty to do on the property, there is also an abundance of hiking trails surrounding the home, and a sandy beach just a few minutes away. You can also go fishing for trout and northern pike in the 60-acre Mohegan Lake which wraps three sides of the land. The lake is also perfect for swimming, canoeing, kayaking, rowing or windsurfing. And as a bonus, the buyer of the Camp Uncas will also get an Emerson Adirondack guide boat original to the compound, two modern canoes and a rowboat.
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Photos via Franklin Ruttan